Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Garden Tools: The Bulb Planter

This is my essential fall gardening tool: the bulb planter. I broke one two years ago, when I planted hundreds of bulbs in muddy soil. It was probably a cheaply made tool and seemed too light and flimsy. This one has held up pretty well though. I paid a bit more for it too. A decent bulb planter is a beautiful thing. However, when you plant 400+ bulbs each fall, count on getting blisters on your hands from these manual planters.

My bulb planter. (Notice the long shadow, despite it being mid-day! Oh, the northern sun.)

This one has markings on the side to measure the depth of your hole. I find it the most useful for the larger bulbs, like tulips and daffodils. It is good for planting in between other plants, because you don't have to dig a large hole, yet can get the bulb in deep enough. Obviously, it can't manage rocky soils very well, but my beds are quite sandy, which is good for planting and good for the bulbs too. For minor bulbs like crocuses, muscari, or chionodoxa, I find it easier just to dig a shallow, broad hole and place the bulbs in a cluster or to make "cracks" in the dirt by wiggling my spade in the dirt and then sticking the bulbs into the crack.

I have commented to resident-lawnmower-man on bulb augers in gardening catalogs. (Lee Valley has a nice one.) "It would really be handy to have one of those bulb augers attached to a cordless drill" I say. Resident-lawnmower-man replies "I am NOT buying a cordless drill just so you can plant bulbs!" I've even been offered the use of another gardener's bulb auger, which means I would only need the drill. Alas, RLM is still not receptive to this idea. Honestly, he has a non-cordless drill, but has hardly ever used it! How many manual bulb planters do I have to break before we can move onto to better technology? Let me know what you are using to plant bulbs!

Speaking of augers, I have noticed that it is not uncommon to win an auger as a prize in local raffles/draws/contests. If you win the BIG prize, you might get a snowmobile. What is the auger for? Ice fishing, of course!


Cicero Sings said...

What? No cordless drill? A guy? How can this be? ... way dark ages man! They don't even cost that much!! I'd put it as top priority on my Christmas Wish List if I were you. Maybe your folk might spring you one??

Karen said...

I wonder if that Northern sun allows you to grow some plants with less shade than I would need? I noticed that you recommended a purple-leafed geranium praetense and tiarella for my full-sun front garden. Have you had success with them in full sun in your garden? I'm just wondering because I can't seem to grow tiarella (and even have problems with heucherella). Also, the purple-leaved geranium I tried to grow this year shrivelled up to almost nothing, even with morning shade. The afternoon sun was too much for it. This isn't about taking issue with your recommendations -- I am just curious whether the higher latitude could make a difference in that way (in which case, you could consider it an advantage).

quu said...

Gardenista, I answered to my blog but I will put my writing in your comment box too :)

I order by mail most of my bulbs (post order firms order their products from Holland), but that Muscari is from normal superstore near by. Sometimes superstores take unique bulbs, but usually selection is small.

I order straight from Holland this fall and bulbs where cheaper and bigger (twice the size what you get from markets..)

I didn't know that Kona means snow, I would like to learn more Cree words :)Like what is water, sun, moon and fire in Cree?

I have noticed same thing that Irises need couple of years time to get large and after that they will bloom.

I have few LA lilies, but we have those red jackets beetles that eat liliums leafs and I am so much away, so when I get back to my bigger garden liliums are without leafs. =/

I had only a small space for sunflowers, but it was only for this year.. next year I need to find new location for sunflowers. :D Place where sunflowers bloomed this year is now place for tulips :)

We have now snow! only 1 cm but still.. I think snow will melt away soon. or I hope ;) Tempature is -5 Celsius

Gardenista said...

Yes, I know. How sad is it that he can own and NOT USE a tablesaw yet not buy a cordless drill!

The northern sun is getting lower by the day, which is great for my indoor orchids anyways. While they are never supposed to be in "direct sunlight", they do very well in the oblique rays of the sun inside the large livingroom windows!

Rajin said...

It’s my very first attempt to comment somebody who loves to type down his/her expertise on gardening. As summer is approaching here in Hammersmith, I’ve been roaming around different blogs for some useful gardening tips. Really a fantastic posting! I won a small land of 200 square feet in front of my house and I just love to grow plants over there….not for corn, obviously. My least knowledge in plants and their nourishment has been delaying my gardening activities. That’s why I’ve started reading different blogs on gardening. Though I didn’t comprehend what exactly you want to say, but I found the pictures of gardening tools really useful for me (especially that bulb planter). Thanks buddy!

Yeswanth said...

Excellent read. I like your style...have a good one!/Nice blog! Keep it up!

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